This week, Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour Member of the European Parliament for the North East is in South America as part of a EuroLat meeting. EuroLat is a multilateral Parliamentary Assembly composed of 150 members, 75 from the European Parliament and 75 from Latin American. The grouping looks at links between Latin America and Europe and covers topics such as trade, security and democratic links.
Jude was able to highlight the growing but already strong business links between the region and Latin America. Gateshead based De La Rue print banknotes for many countries in Latin America. AMEC Foster Wheeler, which has offices in Darlington, provides services to forestry and mining businesses.
There are also research links such as the Newcastle University WATERLAT project, which is dedicated to research, teaching and practical action in relation to the politics and management of water. It is a largely EU funded initiative aiming to bring together teams of social scientists and engineers to discover how political processes, community engagement and appropriate technologies combine to deliver clean water and sanitation. The aim is to use the research to help deliver clean water and sanitation to local communities currently without adequate access and has a strong presence in Latin America but is global in scope.
Jude is chair of a working group on social affairs, youth and education where the main topic is poverty eradication across the world. Discussions are focussed on making poverty a key focus of the 2015 global development goals.
One of the key topics of debate will be the European Union-United States trade deal known as TTIP, while negotiations are between the EU and the US there will be implications for Latin America.